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Why isn't golf attracting more new players?


newtogolf
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  1. 1. What's the major reason golf isn't attracting many new players

    • Economy - disposable income is down
      78
    • A round of golf just takes too long these days
      27
    • Bad image - people think golf is for the old and rich
      14
    • Tiger isn't playing as well as he used to
      5
    • Rules are too complicated
      2
    • Golf clubs are too expensive
      14
    • Greater time demands from family and job
      18
    • USGA is taking the fun out of golf - Anchored stroke ban
      2
    • Golf is too hard and frustrating to play
      23
    • Not enough qualified instructors for kids
      0
    • Lack of public courses in your area
      4
    • Not enough golf ranges in your area
      2
    • Insufficient coverage by mainstream media
      2
    • Fear of playing as single or with strangers
      2
    • Golf is doing fine, there are no problems with it.
      31


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Originally Posted by Penny Pulz

Women are not welcome in golf. Watch the golf channel and that is seen immediately. Plus it is run by old white men and rich old white men

Yet another falsehood.  My home course in Colorado had 3 all women leagues a several mixed leagues, as well as several regular foursomes of women who played 2 or 3 times a week.  A couple members in my regular pool of players for our weekday fourballs were women.  One of the women I worked and played golf with at the course played in the US Women's Amateur 4 years ago.  The course has just finished restructuring the tees, building several new ones to make the course more fun and accessible for shorter hitters, specifically aimed at women golfers.  No course is going to spend money on things like that if women aren't welcome.

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Originally Posted by Lihu

If the kids play first tee, then the older kids can take the younger ones for $2 per round on many courses.

I'm sure the places that have programs and special deals for kids will produce the most golfers, especially if formal training goes with it. There are no such programs around here. Even the course where I work doesn't want kids under 10 on the course at all, even with a parent.

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I believe that golf is attracting new players...what is not doing is attracting committed players and that is why pace of play suffers.  there are plenty of new players that like going out to the course and drink beers and fool around for 5 hrs, out of those that like the social aspects off going out to the course with their buddies not enough are doing it to learn and get better at the game.  It could be the price also..here around NYC i can't get a round for less than $48 walking unless you get a super twilight during the week..

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Originally Posted by MS256

Hmmm...You do realize that there are a whole lot of people that can't pay $19 for their kid to play enough golf to get good at it don't you? Even more with multiple kids.

I love golf but it's out of financial reach (or at least fiscal common sense) for many people I know, and especially out of reach to join a club or pay for a few kids to play a few times a week.

They don't give their kids $19 to spend at the mall very often either.

While I agree that golf is not an inexpensive sport it is often an option if people are serious about getting kids involved.  Around here we have muni and public courses that have memberships available from about $650/yr walking up to many thousands of dollars.

Almost all of them are only about another 25-50% more for a family membership.  That's the route to take.  Get unlimited golf for entire family.  Kids can play 5 holes or 50 holes if they want.  I look a people that spend thousands a year keeping their kids in year round baseball, basketball etc.  Travel teams, camps, you name it.  These parents don't have unlimited money, they put a very high value on those sports for their children and make sacrafices.

For $1000 a year around here you can put your family on an unlimited play course which obviously includes your own play.  Now granted, that course will often be a goat ranch with limited maintenance but it's still golf.  Kids don't need the best course conditions to learn the game.  The best courses around 40yrs ago would probably be considered goat ranches by todays standards.  It's what I learned on.

If people demand the best courses for themselves and their kids, they will have pay for it.  Really no different than the kind of hotels you travel in.  Would I like to stay in a $500 room....heck yea, but i'm happy with the $100 Hampton Inn.  To others the Hampton Inn is their high dollar room while they stay in a $35 Budget Inn.   $500, $100, $35.....its still a bed and shower.....some are just a bit nicer.

Ever take a family out to a movie or dinner? There goes a fast $100.  That comes out of our entertainment budget.  We don't do that stuff anymore.  Now I easily golf and hunt out of my entertainment budget.

I was just talking to a coworker this morning over his $5.00 latte as he complained about how much his kids cost for all of their activities.  He picks up extra jobs to cover it.  I then pointed out that he's drinking $5 coffee, He has a big 5 bedroom house so each kid has their own bed/bath.  His kids don't wear hand me down clothes.   Blah blah blah......My brother and I shared a room.  I got my older cousins hand me downs.  My brother got mine.  Big freaking deal.  And the funny thing is, my dad was a very successful corp exec making very good money.   He just didn't believe an wasting it on fluff.  Funny how much money they have now in retirement to enjoy their golden years.

It's about priorities.  I understand there are lots of people in financial stress right now.  But most people make wasteful choices with their money every day.  Personally, I'll dump my internet, cable and cell phone before I give up hunting and golfing.  Right there is $250/month to cover a $3000/yr membership......hmmmmmmm

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Originally Posted by flintcreek6412

While I agree that golf is not an inexpensive sport it is often an option if people are serious about getting kids involved.  Around here we have muni and public courses that have memberships available from about $650/yr walking up to many thousands of dollars.

Almost all of them are only about another 25-50% more for a family membership.  That's the route to take.  Get unlimited golf for entire family.  Kids can play 5 holes or 50 holes if they want.  I look a people that spend thousands a year keeping their kids in year round baseball, basketball etc.  Travel teams, camps, you name it.  These parents don't have unlimited money, they put a very high value on those sports for their children and make sacrafices.

For $1000 a year around here you can put your family on an unlimited play course which obviously includes your own play.  Now granted, that course will often be a goat ranch with limited maintenance but it's still golf.  Kids don't need the best course conditions to learn the game.  The best courses around 40yrs ago would probably be considered goat ranches by todays standards.  It's what I learned on.

If people demand the best courses for themselves and their kids, they will have pay for it.  Really no different than the kind of hotels you travel in.  Would I like to stay in a $500 room....heck yea, but i'm happy with the $100 Hampton Inn.  To others the Hampton Inn is their high dollar room while they stay in a $35 Budget Inn.   $500, $100, $35.....its still a bed and shower.....some are just a bit nicer.

Ever take a family out to a movie or dinner? There goes a fast $100.  That comes out of our entertainment budget.  We don't do that stuff anymore.  Now I easily golf and hunt out of my entertainment budget.

I was just talking to a coworker this morning over his $5.00 latte as he complained about how much his kids cost for all of their activities.  He picks up extra jobs to cover it.  I then pointed out that he's drinking $5 coffee, He has a big 5 bedroom house so each kid has their own bed/bath.  His kids don't wear hand me down clothes.   Blah blah blah......My brother and I shared a room.  I got my older cousins hand me downs.  My brother got mine.  Big freaking deal.  And the funny thing is, my dad was a very successful corp exec making very good money.   He just didn't believe an wasting it on fluff.  Funny how much money they have now in retirement to enjoy their golden years.

It's about priorities.  I understand there are lots of people in financial stress right now.  But most people make wasteful choices with their money every day.  Personally, I'll dump my internet, cable and cell phone before I give up hunting and golfing.  Right there is $250/month to cover a $3000/yr membership......hmmmmmmm

I agree that almost all of those parents that care about golf can find a way in their budget for their kids to play. It's a different story for all of those kids that would like to play but golf isn't on the parent's radar.

Funny thing is that I was in the latter group as a parent. I was making decent money but I didn't play golf and didn't even think about golf. My youngest son had many friends whose parents belonged to the country club and one day when he was in about the 9th grade he asked me if we could join the country club. Took me about one second to tell him there was no chance that was ever going to happen. If the membership was cheaper I might have given it more consideration but we were already involved in too many other sports and activities to add another (and the most expensive).

P.S. Turned out I made a huge mistake because after high school and on his own he became a very good golfer. Possible he could have been an even better golfer if we had played earlier.

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Golf is hard, if you don't have the drive to get better, you will inevitably give up. In addition, I can't just ask a friend who hasn't golfed to go, they would first have to go to the range and learn to actually make the ball move before we could ever go to course. Regarding children: I really would like to teach my kid golf (when I have one) and it be something we can share together. My assumption would be we will practice a lot in the backyard and play par 3 courses. Both these ideas don't seem very expensive to me...
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Originally Posted by David in FL

You live in the wrong place in Florida if you have dying public courses and poorly maintained tracks!

I can find something like 50 courses less than 45 minutes from me. Conditions ranging from mediocre to pristine, and probably 75% can be played for $40 or less these days.....

I used to live in what you would call "the right place" to play golf in Florida---Jacksonville. I rarely played because, (although I was a skilled golfer in the 1% who can actually break 80)  I was a working class guy and $40 per round was cost prohibitive. I might actually "play" once a month. Mostly I was hitting range balls once a week.  Now I live in what you obviously call the "wrong place" to play golf in Florida. 50 miles north of Tampa, way out beyond even the suburbs, an economically deprived area who's primary source of income is snowbirds and retirees. With a barter arrangement with the golf course manager, I have after hours playing privileges, 6pm to dusk. I play every day. Virtually free golf. I walk. That takes care of my daily exercise. I can spend my money on golf equipment. When a new set of forged blades comes out, I have the money to buy it. My golf game and health has never been better since I moved to the wrong part of Florida. Golfing bliss on Florida's dying marginal tracks.

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Originally Posted by MS256

Hmmm...You do realize that there are a whole lot of people that can't pay $19 for their kid to play enough golf to get good at it don't you? Even more with multiple kids.

I love golf but it's out of financial reach (or at least fiscal common sense) for many people I know, and especially out of reach to join a club or pay for a few kids to play a few times a week.

They don't give their kids $19 to spend at the mall very often either.

Can't speak for Alabama, but here on Long Island kids wear $50 t-shirts from Hollister, A&F;, etc so I don't believe their parents don't have enough money for them to play a $20 round of golf.  Financial issues are more likely to affect the parents who are making sacrifices so their kids can wear those $50 t-shirts.

I considered golf a boring sport for old people until I was in my late 30's.  Golf definitely has an image problem amongst the younger age demographics, so programs like the First Tee really need to be pushed and expanded.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

Can't speak for Alabama, but here on Long Island kids wear $50 t-shirts from Hollister, A&F;, etc so I don't believe their parents don't have enough money for them to play a $20 round of golf.  Financial issues are more likely to affect the parents who are making sacrifices so their kids can wear those $50 t-shirts.

I considered golf a boring sport for old people until I was in my late 30's.  Golf definitely has an image problem amongst the younger age demographics, so programs like the First Tee really need to be pushed and expanded.

Ha ha! Around here all I can say is that some do and some don't, and the "Thrift Stores" where you can buy those things for $5 are pretty popular. That's a far cry from the amount of money it costs to play golf though.

I would actually not even want to know how much I've spent on golf (a scary thought) but I'm pretty sure I could buy nice clothes for a whole lot of kids for less.

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Can't speak for Alabama, but here on Long Island kids wear $50 t-shirts from Hollister, A&F;, etc so I don't believe their parents don't have enough money for them to play a $20 round of golf.  Financial issues are more likely to affect the parents who are making sacrifices so their kids can wear those $50 t-shirts.  I considered golf a boring sport for old people until I was in my late 30's.  Golf definitely has an image problem amongst the younger age demographics, so programs like the First Tee really need to be pushed and expanded.

I agree, First Tee should be expanded. It would attract many more kids that could potentially like it. Honestly, I would not have taken up golf if my kids didn't go. The demographic of the kids who are in the program varies. As they become more advanced, the kids that are left are from more or less the same background. They are more thinkers, and enjoy mental challenges. If we use a video gamer analogy, the video gamers are divided into two groups, first person shooters and strategy. If a kid plays well in first person shooters, he would prefer more active sports. If that same kid prefers strategy, then sports like golf are more attractive. These types of kids put in the effort to play at a decent level that makes it enjoyable. They tend to be more patient and methodical. The problem is that golf takes so much effort to learn even to play at a mediocre level. It is a difficult game that taxes most kids patience beyond the simple reaction impulse. In many ways, I think if more kids took up golf, they would be forced to mature their critical thinking and patience. Two good traits for life in general.

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Reading through all the posts it's obvious that golf is very different in availability, cost and popularity from area to area. I've been fortunate that I have always lived in areas where finding decent courses at a reasonable price was not an issue.

I grew up in a small town Jackson, MI that was very favorable to junior golf back in the 70's/80's. It is the home of Mike and Dave Hill, PGA Tour players from the 60's/70's. I don't know if that was the only reason golf was so popular in my small town but I'm sure it had a hand in it. Today I live in upstate NY where there are excellent junior clinics and golf camps at a reasonable price comparatively.  During my time in the military in my younger days I lived in Seattle/Tacoma, Monterey CA, Bristol VA, and Syracuse NY and in all those places I was always able to play as much golf as I wanted on my crappy miniscule salary as a soldier.  Some courses gave military discounts but the difference was small and I would have played even without them. Part of the reason I was able to play was because I was committed to it. Many of my Army buddies drove expensive cars or had high end stereos, I did not because that would have cut into my golf budget.

The point is there are many people that would be able to afford golf but are not willing to sacrifice other activities in their life. That's a individual choice they make with their disposable income. I'm sure there are families/individuals in the lower end of the middle class that could afford to go play some golf with their kids if they were willing to cut down on what they spend on beer and smokes each week. Many people in that class are not willing to make those sacrifices and just look at golf as an expensive rich mans sport. If your income level is below that then you need to be more concerned with getting a better education and improving your economic status more than playing golf or any other activity for that matter.

I think the First Tee is a great program to introduce those less fortunate into the game and I have donated some of my sons junior clubs to them. I don't look at the First Tee as some program that is supposed to build future PGA Tour players from urban or lower income areas. It's an introduction to golf, but it is also, and more importantly a means of teaching these kids values that they are more than likely not getting at home. So if you want to help grow golf and help society in general, donate clubs, money or whatever you can to the First Tee.

As far as getting anyone interested in the game, golf is a commitment both in time and money. What the motivation is behind that commitment varies from individual to individual. Personally I think golf is doing fine even with a drop in play over the last decade or so. Just like the housing market, golf courses were over built in some areas and there naturally has to be some contraction.

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